What is Foundational Movement?
As a human, your body is made to move. In order to keep your body functioning, especially at a high level, there are six primary foundational movement patterns that need to be trained. These six patterns are: squat, hinge, lunge, push, pull, and carry.
For most, when you picture someone doing a squat, you imagine The Rock performing a barbell back squat with more weight than you care to count. While this is a common variation of a squat, this obviously would not be an ideal exercise for most people. Modification is required to adapt these movement patterns to fit the specific individual. For example, a variation of a squat that can be used for virtually everyone is a bodyweight squat, or assisted squat. The primary purpose of a squat is to created axial loading to increase the activation of your core, while working stability and mobility through the torso, hips, knees, and ankles. Squatting occurs very frequently every day, just think of how many times you sit down during the day on a chair, couch, or toilet. Training this movement pattern can make day to day activities easier and less taxing on your body.
The hinge is an undervalued movement pattern that, when executed properly, can help to protect your lower body from injury. How many times a day do you bend over to pick something up or to tie your shoes? If you are able to execute a proper hip hinge technique, you decrease your chances of being injured and allow your body to become more efficient. The most common hinging movement is the deadlift, and once again this is just one variation that isn’t appropriate for everyone. A variation of a deadlift that is easier for beginners could be a Romanian deadlift or sumo deadlift which are safer for your lower back. Selecting an appropriate variation of a hinging exercise is necessary to train this pattern safely.
If you have ever performed a lunge before, then you understand that they can naturally be hard. Loading just one side of the body at a time is something that is usually lacking in exercise programming, even though these exercises can be used for strength and size gains, and also for stability training. Lunging can be used to not only improve lower body strength, but also your core strength and hip mobility. Lunging also isn’t limited to being performed in a straight line; lateral lunges, reverse lunges, and transverse lunges are all variations that can be beneficial depending on the individual.
When training an upper body pushing movement, most people jump to the bench press, even before being able to master a pushup. The bench press is an effective exercise for some people, but should be incorporated in training only after the shoulder is proven to be able to generate sufficient stability. While working similar muscles, the pushup requires more dynamic stability to control this position, which means the pushup is a prime example of how to generate stability while displaying strength and power. The many modifications and variations of a pushup allow people of all capability levels to safely and effectively train this movement.
Upper body pulling movements should be broken down into two important categories, the horizontal pull (row) and the vertical pull (pullup/pulldown). Both of these pulling patterns are important, but most people should begin with a horizontal row to improve strength without compromising the shoulder joint. One reason the row should come before a pullup for most people is because a row can also function as a corrective exercise to improve posture. By improving posture your body becomes more efficient and is also less likely to be injured due to a stronger foundation.
One of the most important functions of your core is to stabilize your body while you are moving, specifically transferring forces through your limbs to stabilize the entire body. Training this foundational pattern will not only make your body more efficient while moving, it could also help you carry more grocery bags at a time so less trips to your car are required. Improving your posture is an important component in optimizing your body and allowing it to be as efficient as possible. Here at RISE we conduct a postural assessment and functional movement screen on every new client so that any biomechanical deficiency or faulty movement pattern is identified and we can prescribe corrective exercises in an attempt to correct the underlying problem. Our team of professionals use data from our preliminary screening and your personal goals to create an exercise prescription to help guide you on your path both safely and effectively.